South Africa is to make an official bid for the 2020 Olympic Games after the country hosted a successful World Cup, governing Olympic body chief Tubby Reddy announced Tuesday.
A bid for the Olympics is regarded as a way of maintaining South Africa's new international profile and of maximising the investment it gained for hosting the World Cup.
"We have decided that the way forward would be to engage government and key stakeholders on the way forward, but our intention is to provide a world-class city capable of hosting Africa’s first Olympic Games in 2020," Reddy, South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee CEO, said.
Reddy's statement follows South Africa President Jacob Zuma's public declaration that South Africa would like to bid for an Olympics.
Olympic Committee gives the nod
The move has already received the nod from International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge who said he would be glad if a South African city made a host bid. South Africa poured five billion dollars (four billion euros) into the first World Cup in Africa and largely overcame fears about crime and poor transportation, hosting a widely applauded tournament.
Cape Town sought in 1997 to become the first African host of the Olympic Games, but failed to win the 2004 edition and the country turned its focus to the World Cup.
The race to stage the 2020 Olympic Games is set to open next year, with the deadline for the submission of applications to the IOC falling in 2013. - (Sapa, July 2010)